Well, my McIntosh MC350 finally got back from the repair shop (shipping damage), and yes, it does sound better than the Onkyo receiver that it replaced.
The initial setup was via a passive (unbalanced) preamp into the big Mac. This sounded good with no hum. I then put in a B&K ST5 preamp using the fully-balanced input/output set (expecting an improvement). What I got was a serious background hum! I thought that the balanced interconnections were supposed to reduce noise (including hum)!
Everything in the system plugs into a Monster power strip. Should I reverse the preamp's plug? Dress the wires better? Any ideas appreciated.
Thanks - Boomzilla (unhappily humming along...)